Tuesday, May 29, 2012

3-year doctor check-up

So, my first day of "official" summer break I had the great responsibility of taking our oldest, our pride and joy, to the doctor for her three-year checkup.  Eli took O to K's house, and Elsie and I ran some errands, got groceries, visited  her daddy at work, and then headed to the doctor's office where Elsie quickly befriended a 5-or-6-year old boy wearing Iron Man 2 sandals, carrying a blue backpack.

"I like your shoes."

"I like your backpack, too."

The boy opened his backpack and showed her his velcro military patches that his soldier friend had given him.

And then it was our turn.  We had talked about it all day.  She might have to take her clothes off (she didn't); she would have to stand very still on a scale so they could weigh her (she did);  the nurse would use this arm on a ruler to measure how tall Elsie was, and she would have to stand up straight and tall (she ducked at first until she figured out that it wasn't going to hurt or hit her in the head); the nurse would take her temperature and probably would try to put it under her tongue, and that it would be really quick (the nurse did try under the tongue, but then took it twice under her armpit because her temp was high--she was feverish).  The one thing that I wasn't sure about was blood pressure, but Elsie was unphased.  She sat there serenely as the cuff squeezed her arm, and she was the model for the nurse after us telling a boy a little bit older that he would get to do that next, sitting still and being a good boy--he seemed excited.

In the exam room, while we waited for the doctor, Elsie was chatty.  When Dr. Taylor came in, E was wound up to true form.  Dr. Taylor said that she was in a little bit of disbelief that Elsie had a fever since she didn't seem to feel sick, and that she definitely wasn't worried about Elsie's ability to communicate (Elsie was animatedly telling her about all the times that she vomited in the last week--where, when, and how).  I told her I also was not worried about either.

And so we left, stopping for Elsie's favorite treat:  a drink from the water fountain.  In fact, this is the one thing that she associates with the doctor's office.  Bizarre.

By the numbers:

Weight:  30 lbs. 4 oz.   (50th percentile)
Height:  36 3/4 inches  (50th percentile)

Is it possible that a child of mine could just be average?!?  ;)


Monday, May 28, 2012

Public Vomit

I suppose every parent has this experience at some point or another.  I've heretofore only dealt with baby/child vomit at home and in the car.  I write this because it is unbelievably humorous to look back on.

It was the day after our anniversary.  Eli and I snagged a babysitter from church to come watch the kiddos while we went to see the new Avengers movie (we always seem to see comic-themed movies for our dates).  When we got home, the sitter told us that she had fed the kids French fries, she hoped that was okay.  In my mind, I was thinking...I wonder how long those fries have been in the freezer...a year?  I mean, we hadn't exactly given any instructions for snacks in our haste to leave, and this sitter is familiar enough with our house to help herself to whatever.  Fries were a logical choice, and one I might have chosen for myself since we were out of animal crackers and fruit snacks.

We had dinner plans with our dear friend, Jill, who was in town/state/region for a friend's wedding.  Since I had found a gift card to Zaxby's while cleaning up my classroom, one long-forgotten from an intern of semester last, we opted to go for some chicken finger dining delight.

We get inside and Elsie has to go potty.  I take her.  She sits on the potty, does nothing, and then announces that she is done.  We wipe, flush, wash hands, return to restaurant to order.

Just as we are sitting down to eat, Elsie announces that her body hurts.  She needs to go potty.  I take her in there, and after much time deciding which of the two stalls she wants to go into, she pees a little.  We wipe, flush, wash hands, and return to the table.  Eli is mostly done with his meal.  Jill is half done.  Oscar is not interested in eating, and just wants to sit in my lap.

Elsie announces that she needs to go potty.  So I take her.  She plays.  I hurry her, because I just want to eat.  She throws a tantrum.  No, the other stall.  Whatever.  She does nothing...again.  She wants to be the one to flush the toilet.  She wants to use the blue sanitizer instead of the green soap.  She wants to throw her paper towels away instead of me doing it.

FINE.  I just want to eat, child.

I return.  Eli is pretty much finished.  Jill is almost done.  Oscar is antsy, and wants to sit in my lap.

Elsie announces again that she needs to go potty.  I'm clearly frustrated, and by now it's more than hunger.  Eli offers to walk her down the hill to the Home Depot.

Thank you!

I'm just getting started on my Black & Bleu Zalad, and Oscar wants to sit in my lap, but I can't eat and hold him, and I'm about to scream.  And Jill, darling Jill, offers to hold him.  And he goes willingly, because he loves her.  And she starts bouncing him on her knee.

Suddenly, he vomits.  On Jill.  On the booth.  On the table.  On the floor.

And it keeps coming.  Again and again.

French fries.

Thankfully on that Sunday evening, the restaurant was pretty empty, and the busboy was extremely patient, understanding, helpful, and did I mention patient?  His first concern was if Oscar was okay, and then he ran to get a mop--(Shout out to Jordan at Zaxby's in Tiger Town!  What a great example of compassion!)--while we took care of boxing up my dinner that I would eat the next day, and the kids' dinner that they did not touch (both meals vomit-free, rest assured).  Wiped off seats and Oscar and Jill.  Wiped off flip-flops, and then decided it was just time to go home, but we had to collect Eli and Elsie from down the hill.

While still in the restaurant, I called and left a cryptic message for Eli about the fun he missed out on at Zaxby's after he left with Elsie, and that we were headed his way.

By the time we got to the car, Eli called back (I presumed, since I had just called him) and he asked, "Hey, are there any wipes or paper towels or anything in the car?"  Oh, no.  Once I had seen that Oscar emptied out the french fries, I had vaguely wondered if Elsie would also lose hers down the hill at Home Depot, but the thought faded as I focused on getting out of Zaxby's.

"Did she throw up?" I asked.

"Uh. Yeah."

He told me where they were and I drove down the hill; leaving Jill in the car with Oscar, I enter through the garden center, through the sliding doors, and there stands Elsie in front of three successive puddles of...chewed-up french fries.

"Mama!  It's my vomit!"

Eli (who is coincidentally not the parent who deals well with vomit) stood off to the side, and we couldn't help but laugh.  After we cleaned her up, she announced forcefully that she wanted to go back to eat.  At this, Eli and I both laughed aloud.  Guess she felt better now.

Elsie threw up two more times (keep reading), so we kept her home from K's house the next day.

But that is our story of double-toddler vomit (I could probably even use words like synchronized or simultaneous and still be accurate).


Fast forward a week.  We're standing outside Tacky Jack's in Orange Beach, AL--we boated up to the restaurant for lunch, and we shortly headed back to shore for our long trip back home after the weekend.  Elsie had been playing in the sand box, but it's time to go, so Eli picks her up to carry her back out to the boat, and as he turns around, there are a couple of older gentlemen standing there hoping to occupy the rocking chairs we have just vacated.

One of the old men to Elsie:  "Are you three?  I bet you're three."
Elsie:  "I threw up on the floor at my house."
Me:  "Yes, she's three."
Old man to Elsie:  "I hope you're feeling better!"
Elsie:  "And I threw up on mommy's bed.  It was an accident."
Old man (who, with our luck, was probably about to eat):  "Really?"
Me:  "Well, time to go back to the boat."
Elsie:  "Bye!"

Ah, memories.  I'm sure he probably regrets making small talk with a 3-year-old.  Haha.


Saturday, May 19, 2012


It has been nine short years since the husband and I officially vowed to spend the rest of our lives together.  That was so long ago that, dare I say it, it was in the time before digital photography!  So, alas, I have no nostalgic photos to share.  Perhaps I'll get my act together this year and have a scanned photo ready for Anniversary X.

We dated for over two years before we were engaged; then we were engaged for seven months.  So we casually add about three years to our "togetherness".  I remember at the time I felt like we knew what we were doing.  Then a couple of years later I was looking back and wondered how on earth we thought we knew what we were doing because we had been so young!  Time and maturity change perspective for sure.  And to think at almost-24, I felt like an old maid.  [That's because I hadn't been almost-33 yet.]

I blinked and a decade nearly passed.  Now we're starting to gray, wrinkle, and ache.  And from what I understand, it's only the beginning of a long road I look forward to sharing.

And I thank the Lord for His providence--finding my other half that dozen years ago, one with whom I can and will gray, wrinkle and ache with grace (and patience and tolerance and humor and poop talk).

Elijah mine, I love you.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

House and Flowers 2012, part 2

First, the evolution of the flower beds:

This is what the exterior of the house looked like when we bought it, April 2010 (pine straw "flower" beds):

March 2011 -- mulch flower beds with newly planted lilies and irises

Mid-April 2011 -- flowers are starting to perk up

Mid-May 2011 -- one yellow bloom if you look carefully

May 2012

Adjust the window on your computer so that you can both of the last two pictures.  Just look and be amazed.  I have done nothing to this flower bed except keep the weeds out.  What a difference a year makes, huh?

You'll notice that you can see a little more of the flower bed at the side of the house.  Here's what it looks like this year (bearded irises, hydrangeas, miniature crepe myrtle, lots of glorious red-and-green coleus):

Along the back of the house I have some Cahaba lilies planted.  They were tiny last year, and this year they are leafy.  They are expected to bloom near the end of July, early August.  They have a pretty white flower.  Last year only three of them bloomed.  We'll see if I get more this year.

At the end of the row of Cahaba lilies is this weird plant.  My in-laws told me that when they bloom, they will be yellow Louisiana irises, but it will be a few years before they bloom because they like a big, thick clump before they send up flowers.

Finally, here are some pictures of my flowers in the front bed.  I'm amazed at how many blooms I've had--so different from last year.  It's incredible!

I still have two varieties that are yet to bloom--a pink one with thin, curled petals, and orange ones with thin, curled petals that are tinged with red.  The shoots are up, but it will be a couple of weeks before we see the blooms.  (If I could have flower bed filled with the orange/red ones, I would be a happy girl.)

I wasn't going to plant a garden this year since I waited so late, but a friend gave me a whole bunch of seedlings today, and I don't want them to go to waste.  So, it looks like tomorrow might be gardening evening.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Sunny Sunday

My mother-in-law sent these outfits about...10 months ago?  We were supposed to get pictures of the kids in them.  And then it got cold.  And Eli was gone one Saturdays, and, and, and...lots of excuses.  These pictures do not substitute for what we *should* have done, but hopefully they will suffice.  They were taken on Sunday, May 6.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Birthday Photo Montage

Elsie, 1 day old.
Elsie's first school dance, ~7 months

Elsie, 1st birthday
Elsie, 2nd birthday

Elsie, 3rd birthday

Happy birthday, my dear, sweet, Hurricane Elsie.

You are loved and cherished, even when you're screaming and not wanting to go to bed.  Like tonight, for instance.  May your fourth year on this earth be less dramatic.  ;)


Sunday, May 6, 2012

It's a 3rd Birthday, Charlie Brown!

We had Elsie's birthday party on Saturday, though she doesn't turn three until Monday.  It was a joint birthday party with our birthday buddy boy (did a cowboy party with them last year), and it was hosted at our friends' house.  That was such a huge relief.
I used Evite to create the invitation.  Details have been blurred.

I made and frosted the cupcakes myself.
The cupcake toppers were inspired by some
 that I found on Etsy and pinned to my
Pinterest board (below).

Source: etsy.com via Erin on Pinterest

What I bought to complete the cupcake project:  tiered stand, cake mix, toothpicks, cupcake papers, shortening and powdered sugar.  I had or borrowed all the paper stuffs and punches for the cupcake toppers.

Now for the wall decorations.  In addition to the Charlie and Snoopy pose with the cupcakes, I had my students help me trace enlarged graphics onto butcher paper, and color the pictures.   They hung around the house.

I bought nothing to complete the wall decorations.  Yes.  I'm a paper nerd.  I already had butcher paper at my house.  And student labor was free.

This was a joint birthday party, and both of the birthday buddies wore their Charlie Brown shirts.

Mr. Birthday Boy found Elsie's Charlie Brown
plush and carried him everywhere!

I bought the two t-shirts at Wal-Mart, the sleeved one for about $4 and the sleeveless one for almost $3.  I also bought Elsie's black tiered skirt there.

Then for Monday's celebration at the day care provider, I made treat sacks for the kids.  I used the Snoopy fruit snacks box (from Kroger) and slid it into the white bags I already had, using a Sharpie I already had, and traced Snoopy six times.  I later put each child's name on the bag.

For after birthday dinner, I made a miniature ice cream cake (Wilton Mini Tasty-Fill cake molds, borrowed from friend), and then used the leftover icing from cupcakes to make it look like Charlie Brown.

Will she really be three?!?

This picture was taken and added prior to the consumption of said cake.  :)


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Debt Update, May 2012

As some readers have noticed, April was a great month for us in that we paid off our first of five debt thermometers.  It took us seven months to pay off $10,000. We are 20% of the way to being debt free since the reassessment in October (which, all things considered, is actually 60% of the way there from where we started in February of 2008).

 First 10K Chunk, started 10/1/11, FINISHED 4/28/2012!!

  fundraising ideas
Fundraising Thermometer

It's exciting and depressing both.  On the one hand, we're $10,000 closer to being debt-free.  On the other hand, we still have $40,000+ to go.  At the same pace, it will take us slightly more than 28 months to finish it out.

This kind of reminds me of an anecdote about a 40-year-old who wanted to go to medical school, but was hesitant because she thought she might be too old.  A friend and wise counsel advised, "Look at it this way:  In four years, you will be four years older, whether or not you get the degree.  Age doesn't matter.  Just set your goals and tackle them."  Or something like that.

Obviously this is a different situation, but I was thinking along the lines of this: I could complain about how long it's taking and give up and in 28 months we would still be around $40k in debt minus minimum payments, or I complain about how long it's taking, but still keep plugging away, and in 28 months we'll be debt free (God willing).  Either way, 28 months will pass, whether or not we pay down our debt.  I think I would really like to come out on the other side debt-free with a new outlook on life, no matter how long it takes, just like the woman who undoubtedly went back to medical school and came out on the other side with a medical degree, residency, and new occupation.  You know what I'm saying?

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  And all that.  Yes, it's going to take a while, but it's going to take even longer if you don't even start.  Unless of course you win the HGTV Green Home Giveaway (enter twice a day!) and take the cash option to pay off your debt and make your tithe to the church and its new building fund.  But I don't know anyone who's entering twice a day just in case, even though the odds are slim.  Nope.  Don't know a soul.  ::whistling::

On that note, we start fresh this month with a new thermometer and a depressing number 0.  But it's okay.  We'll knock it out, one buckaroo at a time.